Column needed to feed growing family

Column needed to feed growing family By Bob Karolevitz I can't quit writing now because I've got two more mouths to feed.

They're miniature horses � no more than 30 inches high � which Phyllis bought at the State Fair this year.

One � the chestnut adult � is named Walkers Foxy Laty Simon, or Foxy for short. According to her American Miniature Horse Registry form, she's out of Tibb's Wind Walker by Pepper's Manique Pint Knutson, all of which means something to horse-lovers like Phyllis, but it's just another baptismal record to me.

The other one � just weaned � doesn't have her papers yet, so she hasn't got a legal name. Phyllis is calling her Tina, and we're having a little marital spat because I want to spell it Teena so it isn't so conventional!

And, believe me, having a couple miniature horses on the place isn't the least bit conventional!

I made the mistake a while back by saying we ought to have some horses in the barn so it smells like them and not like pigeons. I was kidding, of course, but Phyllis took my jest seriously.

We had gone to the fair on a bus tour, and my second mistake was taking Phyllis to the horse barn. Before I knew it, she was dickering with a young lady from Castlewood for Foxy and a little unnamed piebald filly.

"But, Phyllis," I protested, "you can't take horses home on a bus," which I thought was a diplomatic way of getting out of the purchase.

"Oh, we deliver," the eager young seller chimed in � so I tried another ploy.

"What do you want, Phyllis, a couple horses or my hearing aids?" I asked, the aids being another expense we were contemplating at the time.

Without hesitation, she replied, "I'll take the horses!"

There was nothing else for me to do except to answer in obvious defeat: "Okay, you'll just have to talk louder for a while longer."

Anyhow, Foxy and Teena (or Tina) are now with us, so additional demands on the wallet have begun. They had to have special oat rations and alfalfa hay better than the stuff we raise on our farm.

Phyllis's excuse was, "Oh, they don't eat much."

Then came the bales of pine chip bedding because my compassionate wife said they couldn't sleep on a cold cement floor. "And doesn't it smell nice?" she added.

Already she's recruited grandson Sam to help with the currying, and daughter Jill has been by to trim and rasp hooves. So far I haven't been assigned the task of cleaning out the stall, but I can see that coming. I've got to admit, though, that the pigeon smell in the barn has been overcome.

Foxy and Teena (or Tina) have adapted well to their new surroundings. Like puppy dogs they follow Phyllis around, and they'll probably be in the kitchen come winter.

At this point there hasn't been any talk about expensive tiny harnesses or wagons for them to pull. They're mostly just conversation pieces now and something for Phyllis to look at and dote over. She's showed them off to a steady stream of visitors, too.

You'll no doubt be reading more about Foxy and Teena (or Tina) in the future columns. I've got to pay for fancy alfalfa and aromatic pine chips some way.

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